Many progressives, Democrats and Latinos across America celebrated President Barack Obama’s announcement of the immediate executive action he will be taking in order to find relief to the many undocumented immigrants. But to one progressive leader, the actions announced are just one of many reforms needed to reform the broken immigration system; and not just aimed to satisfy one community. And it all started under her watch in the City of New York.
On Thursday night, and in a major speech on Friday, NYC council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito challenged anyone out there to find a city with a better record on immigration matters than New York City.
“The President is stepping in where Republicans in Congress have continuously failed- much like the New York City Council has done over the past year,” Ms Mark-Viverito said during Keynote Address on Immigration at Cardozo Law “Realizing Justice” in Manhattan. “New York City has established itself as a national leader on immigration policy. I challenge anyone to find a municipality or state that has done more for immigrants.”
The Council speaker mentioned the new municipal ID program, which will give undocumented Americans access to City Services and many other benefits. The Council has also passed two bills that will significantly limit the City’s cooperation with ICE in the enforcement of civil immigration laws.
On Thursday night, at a watch party of President Obama’s immigration speech at the Make the Road NY offices in Jackson Heights, Ms. Mark-Viverito emphasized that immigration is not just a Latino issue.
“We are committed to it,” she said. “This is important for us as communities across this nation. It’s not just a Latino issue—this is an issue that cuts across many communities. This is something that is desperately needed. We understand that this is a reactionary Congress, and those in the Republican party that are extreme that don’t believe that this president has this authority which he does have.”
In fact, the ADL – the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, especially on antisemitic related issues – released a statement following the president’s speech, calling it “an important step toward fixing our nation’s broken immigration system.”
“By focusing enforcement efforts on those who threaten national security and public safety, and by bringing more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and under the rule of law, this move is also a boost to both security and accountability,” Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abe Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a statement.
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